Product Review from Dr Joanna McMillan
I have long been a fan of lupin, being a pretty extraordinary legume. It is very low in carbohydrate but has extremely high fibre levels, including prebiotic fibres that fuel a healthy gut microbiome, as well as high protein and an array of nutrients and antioxidants. I have been playing around for a long time with lupin flour and flakes, but now we can enjoy lupin in the form of a crunchy chip.
Western Australian snack company Pinarie Foods have created a healthier chip using Australian Sweet Lupins, grown in WA, combined with Thai jasmine rice. Lupin is the first (ie main) ingredient and accounts for 43%. The chips also contain a mixture of corn and rice.
They are gluten free making them suitable for those with coeliac disease and those with gluten sensitivities. They have no preservatives and no nasty trans fats. Tick and tick!
How do they compare nutritionally to potato chips?
The nutrition of the Lupin Chips is pretty impressive, particularly compared to a regular packet potato chip (crisp). Take a look:
The lupin chips have 25-30% fewer kilojoules, more than 3.5x the protein, 5x the fibre and a fraction of the fat. Even the sodium is less and within health guidelines. All up this earns Lupin Chips 5 stars on the Health Star Rating system on the front of pack.
The only issue here is that each packet is 50g and states this is two serves. As is the case with most crunchy snacks, they can be moreish and it would be pretty easy to rip through a whole pack, particularly if you are eating them mindlessly while being distracted by the TV, work or while driving. That is one of the reasons I advise eating any foods mindfully but applies even more to tasty snacks.
But to be fair, those of you with bigger appetites and energy needs may well need the 800 or so kilojoules you would get in a full bag and it’s pretty awesome to get 11g of protein in such a snack. Just be aware of what your energy needs are and adjust your portion accordingly.
So, what about the other ingredients? Here’s what else is listed after lupin, corn and rice…
Rice bran oil – not my favourite being a refined, processed oil, but the quantities are very low as you can see in the fat content of the end product, so I don’t think it is too much to worry about.
Sea salt flavouring that includes a flavour enhancer 635 called Disodium 5’-ribonucleotide. That may sound a little scary, but actually such salt compounds occur naturally in foods in larger quantities than we get from it being added. It is usually added because it gives that umami savoury flavour we tend to love.
Nevertheless, both the Food Intolerance Network and The Chemical Maze, consumer sources of information about additives, suggest this additive may cause problems in sensitive people. Most commonly they report it can cause an itchy rash and swelling. That is all a little controversial as the FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives who review the scientific literature report no such reactions or toxic effects and deem it to be safe without even the need for an acceptable daily limit to be set. I suspect that the vast majority of us are just fine with this additive, but if you are sensitive to food chemicals or you experience a reaction you may want to avoid it.
The flavouring mix used in the sea salt variety, but not in the onion and chive, also contains soy products. Something you only need to be concerned about if you are allergic to soy. Note that lupin is also a potential allergen.
The onion and chive variety contains onion and chive seasoning, sugar, salt, spices and the antioxidant 307 which is just vitamin E. None of those are anything to worry about – the overall sugar levels are extremely low and the sodium (salt) is acceptable. Just be aware of the total if you are on a low salt diet.
That’s all very well, but what about the taste?
The initial crunch factor is excellent, and they look pretty appealing. To my taste the onion and chive variety is infinitely tastier and had a more complex and interesting flavour profile.
The sea salt variety was a little bland for me, but I did use them as a crunchy crouton on my bowl of soup and they worked well there! I reckon you could also crumble them over salads too for texture and to add protein and fibre.
All up these are an innovative product that are a big step up nutritionally from most chip style snack products on the market.
If you would like to give them a try, Pinarie Foods are offering you a 30% discount on all 50g and 100g Lupin Chip Cartons. Head to their website for more information on the products and enter the code PINARIE30 at checkout.